Levinas Between Monotheism and Cosmotheism

Levinas Studies 2:79-103 (2007)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

We are now, I think, in the midst of a sea change in Levinas interpretation. Increasingly in the course of the last third of the twentieth century, Levinas’s phenomenological ethics was seen as a resource for intellectuals to protest a certain kind of, shall we say, methodological naturalism in philosophy. Not only scientific positivism but also existential phenomenology with its apparent emphasis on immanence were feared to be terminally infected with neopagan or proto-fascist elements. If the result of these movements was an embrace of (or a failure to adequately critique) modern secularized civilization and its bureaucratized projects — problematic because such a dimension of modernity was a necessary but not sufficient condition of the Holocaust, as ZygmuntBauman has argued — then the putative solution was to bend the stick toward the opposite pole. Scholars could invoke either the broadly monotheistic overtones of Levinas’s discourse of the Infinite or the specifically Judaic texts of the Bible and Talmud that Levinas saw himself as translating into philosophy, in the hope that these acts of citation would persuade scholars’ audiences that a return to monotheism or the Judaeo-Christian tradition could get the West past its embarrassingcentury-long flirtation with human-made mass death. This reading of Levinas would be coherent with a broader trend in American thought from the 1950s onward that would include Abraham Joshua Heschel, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Martin Luther King Jr., wherein secularism (especially as evidenced by communism) is the problem, religion is the solution

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,998

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Levinas's Jewish thought: between Jerusalem and Athens.Ephraim Meir - 2008 - Jerusalem: the Hebrew University Magnes Press.
Levinas, Habermas and modernity.Nicholas H. Smith - 2008 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 34 (6):643-664.
A Site from which to Hope?Bettina Bergo - 2008 - Levinas Studies 3:117-142.
Time, death, and the feminine: Levinas with Heidegger.Tina Chanter - 2001 - Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Secrecy, modesty, and the feminine : kabbalistic traces in the thought of Levinas.Elliot R. Wolfson - 2010 - Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 14 (1):193-224.
On escape =.Emmanuel Lévinas (ed.) - 2003 - Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Levinas and the Phenomenology of Reading.Colin Davis - 2006 - Studia Phaenomenologica 6:275-292.
Ce qui ne revient pas au meme.Stéphane Habib & Raphaël Zagury-Orly - 2006 - Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 14 (1-2):37-54.

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-03-18

Downloads
36 (#444,076)

6 months
10 (#269,219)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references